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Argumentative and Rhetorical Strategies


Deze informatie is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Admission requirements

This course is an Honours Class and therefore in principle only available to students of the Honours College. There are a few places (generally 10-20%) available for second- and third-year regular students.


How do you get persuaded? Are you capable of distinguishing between good and bad arguments? Do you recognize rhetorical tricks?

In this course we will teach you how to resist verbal manipulation. Starting with analyzing argumentative discourse, you will learn how to find the implicit elements of an argument, to make a schematic overview of the different arguments in a line of reasoning, and how to recognize fallacies.

After that we will focus on two classical rhetorical practices: politics and law. You will learn that speakers often do not only use argumentation for persuading their audience, but also ethos and pathos, as well as means of style and presentation. If you are capable of seeing through these means, you are capable of passing a well-considered judgment of the tenability of an opinion.

Course objectives

  • To gain knowledge of basic argumentative concepts

  • To gain knowledge of basic rhetorical concepts

  • To be able to identify and analyse the argumentative and rhetorical aspects of a text

  • To be able to provide a basic assessment of the use of these aspects

  • To be able to compose and deliver a persuasive speech


Thursdays 17-19 hrs.

Week 1: Principles of rhetoric and argumentation 7 February
Week 2: Standpoints and arguments (Assignment 1) 14 February
Week 3: Main line of arguments (Assignment 2) 21 February
Week 4: Speech arrangement (Assignment 3) 28 February
Week 5: Speeches 7 March
Week 6: Ethos & pathos (Assignment 4) 14 March
Week 7: Fallacies (Assignment 5) 28 March
Week 8: Final exam 11 April


Lipsius, room 204.


Week 1: Principles of rhetoric and argumentation (seminar, Pilgram)
Week 2: Standpoints and arguments (Assignment 1) (seminar, Pilgram)
Week 3: Main line of arguments (Assignment 2) (seminar, Pilgram)
Week 4: Speech arrangement (Assignment 3) (guest lecture, lecturer TBA)
Week 5: Speeches (presentations)
Week 6: Ethos & pathos (Assignment 4) (seminar, Pilgram)
Week 7: Fallacies (Assignment 5) (guest lecture, lecturer TBA)
Week 8: Final exam

Course load

This course is worth 5 EC, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

  • Lectures: 8 lectures of 2 hours (16 hours)

  • Literature: 9,25 hours per week (78 hours)

  • Assignments: 5 assignments of 1,5 hours (7,5 hours)

  • Speech: 20 hours

  • Exam: 20 hours

Assessment method

  • 20% Weekly assignments

  • 40% Oral speech + written reflection

  • 40% Written exam (questions about theory and application questions)

Students will pass this class when the weighted total of all tests is ≥ 5.5.

Blackboard and uSis

Blackboard will be used in this course. Students can register for the Blackboard site two weeks prior to the start of the course.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Reading list

  • Crowley, Sharon & Debra Hawhee (2012). Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students. 5th edition. Boston [etc.]: Pearson.

  • Eemeren, Frans van, Rob Grootendorst & Francisca Snoeck Henkemans (2010). Argumentation. Analysis, Evaluation, Presentation. New York [etc.]: Routledge.


Enrolling in this course is possible from Tuesday November 6th until Thursday November 15th 23.59 hrs through the Honours Academy, via this link. It is not necessary to register in uSis.


Dr. Roosmaryn Pilgram